The Middle East Forum Observer – Could Masrour Barzani be the next Manuel Noriega?

File photo (U.S. Department of State/Public Domain)

U.S. academic Michael Rubin argues that Prime Minister Masrour Barzani is facing serious problems, chief among which is the Kurdistan Victims Fund’s ongoing legal case against him in the US in which Masrour and a number of other eminent members of the Barzani family are accused of complicity in crimes ranging from murder to drug smuggling.

Rubin argues that Masrour overestimates the degree of immunity that US security partnerships will buy him in the case, and draws a parallel to US ally-turned-enemy Manuel Noriega, whose criminality as president of Panama became too much for US officials to bear and led to Noriega being deposed, extradited and convicted of a litany of crimes by a US court.

Masrour reportedly tried and failed to get multiple US officials to dismiss the Kurdistan Victims Fund case earlier this year, a failure which Rubin claims demonstrates his lack of immunity. Noriega was also a more indispensable ally to the US than Masrour is, according to Rubin, as Masrour only controls a portion of a region within a country. Rubin concludes: “American humorist Mark Twain reportedly said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” It is a lesson both Barzani and Kurds suffering his corruption might consider.”